By Martin Sadongdong
This year’s Philippine Military Academy (PMA) alumni homecoming in Baguio City has been rescheduled from February 14 – 15 to February 25 to address concerns on the possible spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019 nCoV ARD).
In a statement released Wednesday night, PMA Alumni Association, Inc. Chair Cavalier Rufo de Veyra said the decision to postpone the activity “is in deference to health and public safety concerns regarding nCoV.”
“Alumni classes, especially Jubilarians caught in this late-breaking development, are advised to exercise their best judgements on how to proceed with their individual Class events in sync with the new date,” De Veyra said.
According to the PMAAAI head, the decision to merge in one day the two-day event was reached following a meeting with Baguio City Mayor and fellow Cavalier Benjamin Magalong and PMA Superintendent, Vice Admiral Allan Cusi.
De Veyra said Magalong has already coordinated with the Hotels and Restaurants Association of Baguio to fix the schedules of Cavalier-members who have prior reservations.
Members who have prior reservations were advised to call their respective hotel and request for a rebooking.
Over the weekend, De Veyra had said that there were “no compelling reasons” to change the date of the homecoming even as Magalong earlier cancelled the opening parade of the Panagbenga Festival on February 1.
He argued that the homecoming is a “low-density” and “low-intensity” activity compared to Panagbenga.
On Tuesday night, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana urged the PMA alumni board to move the date of the homecoming to “a more auspicious date” as a precaution against the possible spread of the deadly virus.
The PMA was also placed on lockdown with visitors of cadets to be screened and monitored by the academy’s health officials before they can enter.
The nCoV has since infected three persons in the Philippines, with one fatality, the first nCoV-related death outside China where the virus originated from.
In the Philippines, at least 133 persons were being monitored for possible infection, according to the Department of Health on Wednesday.
The World Health Organization said 24,554 persons have already been infected globally, with China having the most number of confirmed cases at 24,363.